We may become weak and weary in our faith. Without spiritual nourishment we fade away.

Spring is my favorite time of the year. The first flowers peek through the ground and new buds form on the trees. I know the world around me is coming back to life. In anticipation, I look forward to the warming temperatures after the cold and often dreary winter. The robins get busy digging for worms. The air is filled with the enchanting melodies of the songbirds. My hearts sings along with them.

Many spring seasons we have been hosts to a nest of robins atop the light fixture outside our patio door. It’s a great spot; under the porch roof and high enough for protection from danger. This year was no different. Mother robin wasted no time in building a sturdy nest in which to lay her eggs. We saw her come and go. She often sat on the porch railing to make sure the coast was clear. Soon we could hear the tiny chirps of the hatchlings.


If they are alone in the nest, the sound of our door opening quickly prompts their tiny heads to pop up, their mouths wide open. They know that their mama is returning to the nest with food. Without it they will grow weak and die. They trust her for their nourishment to grow and develop.


In the same way, we need food and nourishment, but even more important is our necessity for the spiritual food that helps us grow and thrive in our relationship with God. Without it, we become weak and weary in our faith. Spiritual nourishment comes from the God’s Word.


The Bible is God’s invitation to a relationship with Him. It is inerrant and the final authority on all matters of faith; our guide for living in a way that honors God. He offers this food abundantly and available to us at any time. We need only to open our hearts and minds to receive it. We are commanded to drink it in. “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2). In Deuteronomy chapter 8 we read that God fed the Israelites with manna, “that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”(v3).


Like dining at a fine food restaurant, we are to savor every bite, taking our time to enjoy it. We are to “chew” on it, to meditate and consider how we can apply it to our lives. We need to relish God’s word, making it a part of us as it strengthens and sustains us.

In the last several days, our baby birds left the nest, but we’ve discovered that there are 4 new eggs in the nest waiting to hatch. I’ll once again be able to see tiny heads pop up with mouths wide open, eagerly awaiting some food.

Are you seeking daily spiritual nourishment, enthusiastically anticipating your food from God’s Word? Is your heart and mind wide open, ready to take in and apply the truths He reveals to you? Without it, believers grow weak and cannot grow. God wants you to grow! Dig in and be nourished!


As time has passed, I came to know that there’s no way to dig in, grit teeth, and white-knuckle my way through this sorrow and grief, waiting for the time to be up.

Many years ago, before my husband Frank and I were married, we sought God’s wisdom and direction. There was an important decision that could change our lives. Frank commented that he thought he knew how long the Lord was going to take before He answered. He also said he was not going to share that info with me. Frank knew that I would just be waiting for the time to be up instead of seeking the Lord’s will and spiritually growing while in this difficult place of seeking.


It was like a gut-punch of truth. Frank understands that I like to know the plan, work the plan, and achieve the goal. I have a tremendous ability to dig in, grit teeth, and white-knuckle my way through challenges.


It’s been nearly three years since my adult son, Anthony, suddenly went to Heaven. Since that day, I have been exiled to the deepest, darkest portion of the Valley of Death’s Shadow. Initially, I had to talk myself through each breath, then each moment. Just do the next thing. Eventually, I’d mark that I had made it through another day, week, month, and year. One year closer to leaving the pain of this life behind and seeing Anthony again.


As time has passed, I came to know that there’s no way to dig in, grit teeth, and white-knuckle my way through this sorrow and grief, waiting for the time to be up. I will carry this loss for the rest of my life. I pray for wisdom on how to keep moving forward but I’m not strong enough. So how do I do this when I know that God wants me to not just survive but thrive?


God, in His gentleness, reminded me of the exiles. The Jewish people were exiled to Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar and had been removed from their families and lives they had known. Living in this foreign land, everything was different from their previous lives in Israel. They mourned the loss of life as they had known it, longing for return to their true home. Yet in this place of captivity, the Lord told them through the prophet Jeremiah, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7)


This same passage declares God’s good plans for the people’s hope and future. He promises to bring the exiles back to their home one day. Until then, God commands the people to call on Him and pray. God guarantees to listen and be found. He will be with them, even in this place (Jeremiah 29:10-14). He tells them how to live: not to just survive, but to thrive.


Like the Israelites, I no longer have the family and life I had before. I long for my true home: Heaven. Fully, I feel the grief and loss. Although I am not yet able to dance on the grave of my sorrows, I daily do my best to fully surrender to the Lord, call on Him, and pray for increase and prosperity in my new land. I don’t want to just survive. I want to thrive.

Where do you find yourself today? Why not follow Jeremiah’s instructions and continue to call on God and pray as you wait? Seek peace and prosperity in whatever place you find yourself, trusting with hope in God’s plan for your future. Endeavor to not just survive but thrive until the Lord’s promise to take us home is fulfilled.


Did you ever realize that God rarely ever tells His children the details of the future?

In 1988 our family moved to Illinois so my husband could go to seminary. Homesickness conquered my heart. “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayers were not cutting it.  What kind of spiritual life sustains you in crisis? Afterall, weren’t we “doing God’s work”? At the time, I didn’t realize God would do whatever He wanted, regardless of our personal plans. We had given God permission to do bring pain into our lives.


We experienced lots of surprises. The sale of our house was supposed to carry us through most of Bill’s education. The funds only lasted the first year. Our new home was in Zion, IL and it certainly was not the Zion associated with heaven. We had given away our church home, our close ties with family and friends, and the confidence we had from prior ministries. Pastor Bill now worked as Janitor Bill. Teacher Jacqui who had excelled at working with young children found herself way out of her league teaching middle school and high school students. Our two sons had to build an entirely new world of friends. Life was hard.


Did you ever realize that God rarely ever tells His children the details of the future? Daniel and his friends knew that God would eventually bring exiled their people back to Israel, but God neglected to tell them that lions, a furnace, and tests would abound. One thing that especially pops out when one reads the Book of Daniel – Daniel prayed, no matter what.


The reward for my struggles, in 1988-1991 amidst all the pain, was a prayer life that exponentially expanded into rich and deep conversations with God.  There was nowhere else to turn.  I began, out of desperation, to really focus on my relationship with God.  5 AM marked the time when I commenced going for long walks in the dark, crying out to God and asking for His guidance.  I felt liked the Israelites when they had to trust God as they walked across the Jordan. God commented, “you have not passed this way before.” 


So, in all the pain you may currently be going through, are you consciously keeping your eyes on God with the expectation that He will direct you since “you have not passed this way before”?  This may involve life changes such as intentionally spending more time talking to God and less time complaining to others about what is happening.  More actions carried out with the courage and wisdom of Jesus and less behaviors determined by your fears.  This is not the time for cookie cutter prayers, this is the time to move forward, deeper into the Christ Who knows “you have not passed this way before.” 


Ruth Haley Barton in “Sacred Rhythms” writes: “As long as we continue to reduce prayer to occasional piety we keep running away from the mystery of God’s jealous love.” I wanted to run away from this painful love.  Barton continues: “let God’s creative love touch the most hidden places of your being and …to listen with attentive, undivided heart to the inner movement of the Spirit of Jesus, even when that Spirit was leads to places you would rather not go.”  In the dark at 5 AM I began to let God pry my fingers off those things I had previously treasured.  I began to beg God for what He wanted to transpire in my life, as hard and painful as it was.  The floor had been ripped out, the roof blown off. God wanted to build my life in a new closer way. 


Barton continues: “We come to Him with empty hands and empty heart, having no agenda.  Half the time we don’t even know what we need; we just come with a sense of our own spiritual poverty.”  I just dumped all of it, every awful shaming moment of it all, and came to the cross with bended knee.  It was in the dark in Illinois that I learned to let God do whatever He wanted, no matter the future. I had “not passed this way before.” 


I am a wounded healer who dances with a slight limp

For a month in 1623, John Donne and his doctors believed he was suffering (and likely dying) from the bubonic plague. Donne was able to do little more than write, which he did—journaling a series of meditations on his wrestling with God. He titled his work “Devotions”.


On reading “Devotions”, author Phillip Yancey reflected on his own season of weariness and wrote the book “Undone”. Yancey notes: “A measure of shame seems to accompany disability or illness. Donne experienced and wrote about such shame. My journaling expressed my own deep shame, a shame rooted in my belief that I was now weak, flawed, and a failure. This dark hovering cloud of shame is an innate shame in inconveniencing others for something that is neither your fault nor your desire.  Together, depression and anxiety are a two-headed monster. When depression, anxiety, and shame link arms, the days are a downward spiral.” 


“Depression has a way of sitting down heavily on your back. It plans to stay a while.” (Ramon Presson)


It is easy to disregard a season of depression as being without purpose.  However, the Apostle Paul thought differently: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor 1:3-4).  


I love the challenge of Henri Nouwen. He calls us to become “wounded healers“. He pronounces: “And if I am a wounded healer, who having fiercely wrestled with God, now dance with a slight limp, then so be it.”

Stand up and dance, no matter your season of unbalance.


God pulls me out of myself, my own worries and upheavals into the Universe where He rules.  God speaks to me the best when I shut up and listen.

I am addicted to a British TV show called “The Repair Shop”. The show’s premise is that everyday people bring in family heirlooms which are then repaired and resuscitated for their owners by experts with a broad range of specialties. No one is charged for the work and people are jubilant to see previous pieces which have been mangled over the years, restored to beauty. I love to see beauty brought out of brokenness.


In my living room exists my own unique repair shop. In a corner sits a recliner which is not a family heirloom. It was a Costco special. Next to it is an adjacent couch, also not an heirloom. What makes the recliner special is its daily use.  I sit there and picture Jesus on the adjacent couch. The regular conversations that take place at my recliner have been golden. Beauty is created from brokenness.


To the left of my recliner are the tools:

  • My journal
  • Prayer Point” (a Bible reading guide published by Samaritan’s Purse)
  • Open Doors World Watch List 2024 (the top 50 countries I need to be praying for regarding persecution)
  • Valley of Vision” – a collection of Puritan prayers that are a great jumpstart for the days when I feel my prayers are rather dusty.


But the most valuable tool is my battered and marked up Bible.  I’ve run a lot of miles with it; written notes upon notes in the margins regarding things God has pointed out to me when I’m reading it. 


I’m one of those people who need to have relative quiet while I’m at the shop. Total concentration is necessary. It’s not all about me. God voice needs to be clearly heard. Some days it is difficult when I’m wandering through Leviticus – it may seem dry as dirt (often a match for my soul).

God pulls me out of myself, my own worries and upheavals into the Universe where He rules.  God speaks to me the best when I shut up and listen. 


If you are already a believer (you have trusted Jesus Christ alone to make your life new) then having a Soul Repair Shop is one of the best things you can do. Your shop may look different than mine – better furniture, location, or it may even take place in a parked car.  Wherever, this is the place you meet God and implore Him to do His work. 


Just a warning, work in the Repair Shop can be a little painful. There have been numerous times where God has told me in no uncertain terms to repent, to eat humble pie, and to let go of prized projects. I have to keep remembering that He is the restoration expert, not me.

For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.(Hebrews 4:12-13)


Except for the Word of God, the tools God uses in your Repair Shop may be a little different, but the main thing is to consistently permit Him to do His work.  That’s why it is vital to keep that daily appointment.  Do you want your broken parts made beautiful? Is it possible for God to make you clean?  Perhaps you also need to get addicted to “The Repair Shop”, but not the BBC version – God’s version.